SEO is no longer what people think it is

This article was originaly posted on LinkedIn

I had an interesting discussion with a previous colleague a while ago and we agreed on one thing, “SEO is no longer what people think it is. What we do is Business Development”. Let me explain what we meant.

The SEO department plays an important role in the development of a business. Some of the things we do are increasing the revenue and take part in the growth through acquisition or expansion. We are an important part for several channels for acquisition. What we do can be summarised with:  We increase the value of the business.

Think of it, “We do Business Development”. It depends on what phase your business is in, what kind of SEO tasks is suitable for that phase or channel.  Yes, different SEO tasks are suitable for different levels or phases.

Initially we often take part in the planning phase. It is important to understand the business and the customers.

  • Take part of the SWOT analysis.
  • Do you understand who the customer is?
  • Have you reviewed competitors and what they are developing?
  • Explore market opportunities.

After the planning we step into the site/project creation phase. This is usually the part where most people think that SEO’s limit themselves.  But, this is one of the most important stages for anyone working with SEO – and other types of marketing, UX and so on. It’s important to be on the same level from the very beginning. This is the basic part where we perform what is called technical SEO. This part must be in place to be able to do the following phases as effectively as possible.

  • Is the user journey clear?
  • Is it clear what the site offers?
  • Will the content correspond to the search intent?
  • Does every page have a clear purpose and call to action?
  • Have you audited the site?

When you come to the digital marketing phase you (SEO’s) should step in and take a larger part than you perhaps do. This is an important phase for most businesses.  SEO is mostly seen as something that only belongs to the organic search results but when it comes to visibility SEO can add value to all digital marketing channels.

  • Is SEO integrated with affiliation?
  • Is SEO integrated with campaign pages/microsites?
  • Is SEO integrated with Social media?
  • IS SEO integrated with PPC?
  • Is SEO integrated with your Email marketing?

There is also the evaluation phase that will give us the answers to our performance.  I believe that you should always start with looking at the bottom line of the results. Look at the result for different departments/teams from a collective perspective, for example looking at CPA (cost per acquisition).

The CPA’s are different for the teams and often the focus are on optimising the individual CPA’s instead of the business as whole. If departments start to share KPIs and work from a larger perspective we also start taking responsibility in improving the business’s bottom line goal.

That is how not only SEO can take part in business development.

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